by R. K. Bloom

ABIT AA8 on the Intel 925X Alderwood

ABIT AA8 on the Intel 925X Alderwood

When the marketers came up with the name of the companys board ABIT AA8, they even could not imagine what it will receive an ambiguous meaning in Russian. So, AA8 called “DuraMAX”, or a combination of “Durability” (which means stability, durability and strength) and “MAX”. As a result, in Russian board called “Maximum stupid” (or “complete fool” :) . On the logical question: “Will there be a name change fee for sales on the Russian market,” obtained the following answer: “No. It will be more fun” :) .

So, we board the flagship company in the most productive ABIT chipset i925X. But before proceeding to the description of the board, closer look at the chipset.

Chipset Intel 925X Alderwood

So, with the release of chipset i925X and i915P, Intel is offering users a host of new technologies. First is the support of memory standard DDR2, which has a higher bandwidth

than DDR. For example, prop. the ability of DDR I dual-channel mode is 6.4Gbayts (at a frequency 200Mgerts or DDR400), then the prop. the ability of DDR II dual channel mode is equal to 8.5Gbayts (at a frequency

133 MHz or DDR2-533). And if at the moment this bandwidth is not claimed, then after switching to the bus speed 266Mgerts (1066Mgerts QPB), it becomes a necessity. The fact that only selected modules DDR I overclocking capable of operating at a frequency 266Mgerts (DDR 533), and the use of modules DDR II will be an industry standard.

However, such an increase in the frequency carried by a significant increase in latency of the memory, and consequently leads to an increase in memory latency (or delay of access). As a result, the actual system performance with DDRII will be at best equal to the speed of the system with DDR I. For example: standard timings for DDR400 are: 2-3-6-3 (2-2-5-2 particularly aggressive), and for DDRII-533 memory timings are 4-4-12-4.

Now a few words about the features of the memory controller. Thus, the memory controller in the i925X chipset allows for very flexible use of memory. In particular there are three user modes: “Dual Channel Symmetric”, “Single Channel” and “Dual Channel Asymmetric”. Maximum simple explanation is as follows: “Dual Channel Symmetric” – a familiar dual-mode access, which is compared to the same regime in i865PEi875P rid of weight restrictions. For example it is theoretically possible regime, when the first channel has one 512MB module size, while the second channel of the two modules of 256MB (hmm, it would be good practice to check it :) . The second mode (“Single Channel”) is the simplest form of memory accesses – one channel. No comments yet. But the third (“Dual Channel Asymmetric”) is very interesting from a theoretical point of view. It allows you to set different channels different amounts of memory. As a result, the controller will try to use some two-channel access. In practice, developers guarantee stability, but warned that the level of performance in this mode will be closer to the single-channel access, rather than to the two-channel.

Another new technology – Support for new processor format Socket LGA775. However, this support is not a privilege only the chipset i925X i915P. Because the protocols work with the processor bus

have not changed, we can observe different types of hybrids i865PE + LGA775, or i915P + Socket 478.

The main motive is the transition to the new socket Intel is a more equal distribution of power consumption of different blocks of the processor. In conjunction with the new stepping Prescott D0, it will not only reduce the overall heat systems with Pentium4, but also improve the theoretical ceiling of clock frequency. However, it should be remembered that since the frequency is quite acceptable 4Ggrets heat is about 150W. This will entail an improvement in cooling devices. In particular, Intel has redesigned a “boxed cooler,” which now has a 4-pin power connector.

Whats really new? For example a complete rejection of the AGP bus in favor of the new bus PCI Express. First increase in throughput with 2.12Gbayts (AGP 8X) to 8Gbayts (PCI Express x16). However, the benefits

New tires are not just a simple increase in the prop. ability. Radically changed the mechanism of transfer of data – now hes a serial full-duplex. The latter term refers to the possibility of simultaneous transmission in both directions (in the AGP of such a possibility – not). In addition to the PCI Express bus is possible to create independent data channels (up to 32kanalov).

But go – we will not: the real benefits of the PCI Express for graphics cards will be available any time soon. The fact that game developers are almost completely ignored texture placement in the system memory, and preferred to keep data in local memory card (used with a relatively small amount – 64MB, very rarely 128Mbayt).

Now on to the second half of the chipset – the Southbridge ICH6, which is associated with the north bridge of the new tire: DMI with a maximum capacity of 2Gbayts. Incidentally DMI – is a kind of modification of the bus PCI Express x4.

Expansion card option appeared PCI Express x1 bus with a bandwidth of 500Mbs. In the developers have the opportunity to set the board up to 6 slots “regular” PCI, slots and 4 PCI Express x1. As a general rule, manufacturers combine two slots on the circuit 3 (both on-board Abit AA8).

In contrast to the architecture of previous generations of chipsets, exchange data with devices on the bus going through dedicated channels (a total of 4 x = 2gbayts 500Mbs). And before all of the devices were crowded on one PCI bus

with a capacity of 133Mbayts.

Next – increased number of SerialATA ports with two (ICH5) to four. This is good news, the bad news is that the number of “regular” ParallelATA channels was reduced from two to one. Thus, Intel is trying to accelerate the transition to SerialATA device users. Incidentally, the ability to create RAID arrays have increased significantly. Now the owners of systems with motherboards based on ICH6R can create RAID arrays of levels 0, 1 and MatrixRAID. The latter mode – a combination of modes 0 and 1, in which each disk in the array is divided into two parts: one for the mode 0, the other for 1. The result is an analogue mode RAID 1.5.

It should be noted that the RAID features are optional and are only present in versions ICH6R and ICH6RW (and therefore absent in ICH6 and ICH6W). As for the south bridge, in the name of which is W, the letter indicated the presence of the technologies Intel Wireless Connect Technology (WiFi).

Another new technology – new built-in 8-channel audio core Intel High Definition Audio, which provides 24-bit multithreaded playback of sound at a frequency of 192 kHz. The core supports the latest standards such as Dolby Digital 7.1, DTS ES / Discrete 6.1, etc. The audio quality should be at the expensive sound cards. In addition, the HDA core supports the popular feature, as the automatic recognition of the connected device type (speaker, headphones or microphone) and the automatic reconfiguration of the relevant parameters. If more and lost productivity for processing three-dimensional sound will be minimal, it may well turn out very advantageous to the user audio solution (such as the nForce 2 MCP-T platform SocketA).

Once again the main characteristics of the chipset:

CPU Support Pentium4 (QPB 800Mgerts);

Support for DDR2 400 533 (two channels with two slots each, 4GB);

Bus Support PCI Express x16 (one slot);

Bus Support PCI Express x1 (four slots);

Bus Support PCI (six slots);

Support for SerialATA (4 channels, RAID);

Support for ParallelATA (one channel);

Support for Gigabit Ethernet connections;

Supports Serial Bus USB 2.0 (8 ports);

Integrated sound core of High Definition Audio.